The Chair of the Children and Learning Scrutiny Panel outlined the Panels key findings, conclusions and recommendations following a scrutiny investigation of substance misuse among parents and carers in Middlesbrough.
The Board considered the following recommendations of the Panel based on the submitted evidence: -
(i) That work is continued to agree and implement a Joint Local Protocol as soon as possible. The Scrutiny Panel would expect significant progress to have been made by August/September 2012.
(ii) That, following development of a Joint Local Protocol, action is taken to measure its effectiveness - for example by developing audit and accountability systems to ensure that all involved make best use of and adhere to the protocol and by identifying and reporting to Middlesbrough Safeguarding Childrens Board on the following:-
(a) the number of children under 18 living with an adult or adults who are in Tier 3 treatment for drugs and/or alcohol misuse;
(b) the number of children who have had a Pre-CAF completed;
(c) the number of Pre-Common Assessment Frameworks resulting in a full Common Assessment Framework being completed;
(d) any gaps in services for children living with problematic substance misusers.
(iii) That all commissioned drug and alcohol services (adult and young peoples services) should have a clause included in any new contract which binds them to adhere to the joint protocol.
(iv) That training on the impact of substance misuse by parents and carers on children, on safeguarding, hidden harm, the referrals process, and the Pre-CAF and CAF processes is provided to all Adult Social Care staff who may come into contact with children of substance misusing parents and that this becomes part of core induction training.
(v) That training on the impact of substance misuse by parents and carers on children, safeguarding, hidden harm, the referrals process, and the Pre-CAF and CAF processes is also provided to all staff in commissioned drug and alcohol services who may come into contact with children of substance misusing parents.
(vi) That the Group which is developing the Joint Protocol also develops more sophisticated data gathering systems in order to improve information regarding numbers of children and young people involved, as well as age profiles.
In discussing the key findings of the Panel Members referred to the importance of ensuring that the number of social workers involved with safeguarding of children was adequate and that their caseloads were manageable. It was suggested that the Scrutiny Panel receives regular updates.
Members agreed that the development of a Joint Local Protocol was seen as a major step forward in strengthening current processes.
ORDERED that the findings and recommendations of the Children and Learning Scrutiny Panel be endorsed and referred to the Executive subject to the addition of with an update to be reported to the Panel to the last sentence of recommendation (i) as shown above.